Floating islands have been popularised by The Seasteading Institute, which advocates for “seasteads” – politically utonomous human settlements in international waters.
The institute was founded by the libertarian Patri Friedman and controversial Facebook investor Peter Thiel. Consequently, some scholars have criticised floating islands as the playthings of Silicon Valley billionaires trying to escape taxes.But perhaps there is another side to offshore housing.As I have looked at in my PhD, floating architecture can also be a green and sustainable technology to help adapt to climate change.
No wonder the Global Center on Adaptation, a new international organisation focused on adaptation to climate change, has plans for a floating office space in Rotterdam. Another example is the Floating Island Project in French Polynesia, the focus of my research over the past three years.
It was intended to be a village with special regulations floating in a lagoon, however the project lost government support after protests during the Polynesian presidential elections of 2018.There are good reasons to be cautious about the idea that floating architecture can help communities adapt to sea level rise.